The Employee Trust Funds Board last week approved required contribution rates for the Wisconsin Retirement System, following the recommendations of its consulting actuary. Total rates paid for most employees and employers will remain unchanged for next year. The new rates take effect January 1, 2021.

Annual changes in contribution rates are based on investment performance of the WRS Trust Funds and actuarial factors to pre-fund retirement benefits.

The contribution rates, expressed as a percentage of salary, are listed for each WRS employee category in the following table. Contributions, coupled with investment returns of the trust funds, are paid in full and used to fund the employee’s WRS benefit.

WRS Required Contribution Rates

Employee Category General, Executive and Elected Officials Protective with Social Security Protective without Social Security
Year 2021 2020 2021 2020 2021 2020
Employer Cost 6.75% 6.75% 11.75% 11.65% 16.35% 16.25%
Employee Cost 6.75% 6.75% 6.75% 6.75% 6.75% 6.75%
Total Cost 13.5% 13.5% 18.5% 18.4% 23.1% 23%

Note: Rates for other mandatory employer-paid contributions (e.g., duty disability, the state's Accumulated Sick Leave Conversion Credit Program) or unfunded liabilities are not included in the above figures because these rates vary by employer.

The total required contribution rates (“Total Cost”) are generally split evenly between employees and employers for general category employees and may depend on collective bargaining agreements for some protective occupation employees.

The ETF Board also approved the following for these employer-paid benefit programs in 2021:

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